CHARLOTTE, N.C, May 9, 2016 – When outsiders look at the American election process, especially in 2016, they have to be asking, “What the hell are they thinking? How can the most powerful country on the face of the earth make their people choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?”
It’s valid question. Particularly since the world is now shaking its collective head at the capital of the United Kingdom and asking “What the hell are they thinking? How can London elect a Muslim mayor?”
For at least a decade, maybe more, news reports have been filled with the term “Londonistan” as a way of saying Muslim influence in that city has completely altered the fabric of its culture. No wonder you do a double-take when you receive the news that Sadiq Khan is the now the mayor of the city.
Thus far, London has been spared much of the terrorism turmoil that has occurred most recently in Paris and Brussels, but the fuse is long and it is burning. Most assuredly there is nothing good at the end of it.
Time will tell if the city’s mayoral decision was a good one. But on the surface at least, it would appear that the wolf has donned Granny’s nightgown and is lying in wait for Little Red Riding Hood.
Some observers might look at the U.S. and point out that we elected a Muslim to the White House nearly a decade before London elected a Muslim mayor. That, too, is a legitimate perspective.
Even if Barack Obama’s true beliefs lean toward Christianity, his governing methods have most certainly advocated for Islam in countless ways, so much so that his policies in the arena of international diplomacy have dramatically altered global perceptions of the United States.
Many analysts believe Khan has a much larger goal of becoming prime minister of the U.K., an effort that would be aided considerably by using his position as mayor of London.
Beyond that, there is considerable disagreement among so-called experts as to whether Khan is an anti-Semite with links to Islamic extremists.
Raheem Kassam, editor in chief of Breitbart in London, writes, “Mr. Khan’s own track record is perhaps one of the most sour of all Muslim politicians in the Western world.”
Others, however, claim Kahn is a moderate.
The frustration is that in today’s environment, who can tell? And even if you can, what exactly does that mean? Jim Edwards of Business Insider calls Kahn “Britain’s Obama.”
A recent survey conducted by ICM Research “shows that a significant part of the British Muslim community is becoming a separate ‘nation within a nation’ — has reignited the long-running debate about the failure of 30 years of British multiculturalism and the need for stronger measures to promote Muslim integration.”
That is not a good thing for the survival of the United Kingdom as we know it.
The 615-page poll revealed that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with terrorist activity and that only about a third of them would notify police if they believed they knew somebody who could be involved with jihadists. Combine that with a powerful elected official who holds the highest office in London, and, at the very least, everyone must be vigilant about the potential for future extremist activity.
David Cameron, the current prime minister of Britain, has accused Khan of “sharing a platform with an extremist who called for Jews to drown in the ocean.” Among other notable advocacies for the Islamic community, Kahn was the lawyer for the Nation of Islam in its successful bid to overturn the ban on Louis Farrakhan. In addition, Kahn was a major player in the campaign to release Britain’s last Guantanamo detainee, Shaker Aamer. There are numerous other examples that mar the overall character of the new mayor and the perceptions about him.
Are his opponents over-reacting in a somewhat Islamophobic manner, or is Kahn playing a con game much the way the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) operates in the U.S.?
The biases split directly according to individual beliefs about Islam and its inner workings. Based on precedent, Kahn must be considered an opportunist who will take advantage of every strategy possible to elevate the Islamic community.
On the other hand, if — and it is a very big IF — Kahn is truly a reformer, then his election could signal a dramatic change of opinions that might be the start of serious negotiations between Islamists and non-Muslims.
It would be nice, but chances are the reality of that happening is just another story that begins with, “Once upon a time….”
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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